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The Age Friendly National Advisory Group provides governance, oversight, strategic direction, and advice in relation to the overall programme achieving its goals and objectives.  They provide guidance and advice where local implementation & best practices can influence national policy on a cross departmental basis and seek to integrate the Programme into existing structures and considering how best to align with other relevant national policies and plans.

The National Advisory Group ensures the Age Friendly Programme achieves its strategic objectives and ensures expenditure is in line with budget.

The members recognise that the National Advisory Group can be used as a vehicle for raising priority issues and proposed solutions that are beyond the scope of local alliances and in this context regular feedback from the National Network of OPC’s, the National Programme Managers and the National NGO Forum is presented to the National Advisory Group for strategic advice.

List of National Advisory Group Members

Kieran Kehoe – Chief Executive, Meath County Council

Kieran Kehoe Headshot A 002

After Graduating from UCD in 1994 with a degree in Engineering, I commenced work in the Construction Industry as a steelwork Design Engineer before progressing to the role of Project Manager with responsibility for projects ranging from €100K to €10M in Ireland, UK, and Middle East. In 2002, I started with Laois County Council as an Executive Engineer in Water Services and progressed to Senior Executive Officer with responsibility for Planning & Economic Development. In 2012, I was appointed Director of Service in Laois County Council with responsibility for Planning, Economic Development, Roads & Transportation, H&S, Emergency Services and Portlaoise Town Manager. In my role here I was the lead director for one of the first heritage led town centre enhancement schemes at Fitzmaurice Place and The Fort Protector in Portlaoise’s town centre.

In February 2019, I was appointed Director of Service with Waterford City & County Council with responsibility for Corporate Services, Culture, HR, IS and Dungarvan Town Manager and in March 2022, I also took on responsibility for Planning. I have been involved in the delivery of the North Quays Strategic Development Zone project in Waterford City which secured €120M URDF funding for the public infrastructure element as well as a €250M private mixed-use development on the site.

I have led the LA sector in response to such issues as Unfinished Housing Estates, Road Opening Licence standardisation through the Joint Utility Local Authority Forum, Sectoral Response to the Covid pandemic, sectoral blended working policy and more recently in relation to the new Planning Act, Planning Fees Review, National Planning Framework review and Planning Resources Review Group.

Since taking up the role of Chief Executive with Meath County Council, I have had a strong focus on housing delivery, promoting the economic development of the County, and promoting the world class heritage assets that Meath has so that it can become one of the top tourism destinations in Ireland.

Pat Dowling – Chief Executive, Clare County Council

Pat Dowling - Chief Executive, Clare County Council

Pat is a native of west Limerick and a graduate of UL.   He now resides in West Clare.  He was appointed to the post of Chief Executive, Clare County Council in September 2016.  Prior to his appointment in Clare he was Deputy Chief Executive in Limerick City and County Council.

He has worked in local government for the past twenty two years and had responsibility for the merger of Limerick City and County Councils as part of the Local Government Reform Act 2014.  He worked in a number of areas in local government including responsibility for housing and regeneration programmes in the Limerick city area.

He is the National Chair of the Age Friendly Alliances.

He worked in areas of rural development and the LEADER programme prior to joining local government.

Paula Hilman – Assistant Commissioner Roads Policing & Community Engagement – An Garda Síochana

Paula Hilman - Assistant Commissioner Roads Policing & Community Engagement, An Garda Siochana

Assistant Commissioner Paula Hilman had 34 years’ policing experience with the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) before joining An Garda Síochána in May 2020.  As Assistant Commissioner for Roads Policing & Community Engagement she has responsibility for the National Roads Policing Bureau, the National Youth Diversion Bureau, the National Community Engagement Bureau, Public Order and Major Event’s policy.

Previously as a Detective Chief Superintendent Paula was in charge of PSNI’s Public Protection Branch. Paula was Chair of the Strategic Management Board which oversees Public Protection Arrangements for Northern Ireland. In June 2019 Paula was elected the first female President of the Superintendents Association for Northern Ireland, the staff association that represents the Superintending ranks within PSNI. Paula is a Strategic Firearms Commander and Gold Public Order Commander with extensive experience in operational policing in Northern Ireland.  In 2013 Paula was awarded an MBE for services to Policing and the Community.

Patricia Whelehan – HSE

Siobhan McArdle – Department of Health – Assistant Secretary for Social Care, Mental Health, Drugs Policy and Unscheduled Care Division

Siobhan McArdle – Assistant Secretary for Social Care, Mental Health, Drugs Policy and Unscheduled Care Division,  Department of Health

Responsibility at Assistant Secretary level for policy development and oversight of the provision of health and social care services for older people, people with a disability, palliative care, dementia care, mental health services, people who use drugs and inclusion health.

The Social Care, Mental Health, Drugs Policy and Unscheduled Care policy division spans older people, palliative care, dementia and carers, mental health services, people who use drugs, inclusion health and access to urgent and emergency care.

The divisional remit is to develop policy and underlying legislation as required, to ensure the provision of high quality health and social care services to support and enable all service users to maximise their full potential, supporting people to live and age well in their communities through the provision of locally accessible community services aligned with Sláintecare policy.

David Kelly – Department of Housing Local Government and Heritage

Bairbre Nic Aongusa Assistant Secretary of Community Development at the Department of Rural and Community Development

Bairbre Nic Aongusa – Department of Rural and Community Development

Bairbre Nic Aongusa is responsible at Assistant Secretary level for Local & Community Development Policy, Libraries Development, the Social Inclusion & Community Activation Programme (SICAP), supports for Community and Voluntary Groups, government’s relationship with Philanthropy, and the Charities Regulator.

The Community Development Division promotes and supports the development of vibrant, sustainable and inclusive communities in both urban and rural areas, through implementing a coherent policy framework and strategy which supports the community and voluntary sector.

Tania Banotti – Director of Creative Ireland Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media

Tania Banotti – Director of Creative Ireland - Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media

Tania Banotti has responsibility at Director level for leading and co-ordinating on the Creative Ireland Programme 2023-2027, the Government’s five-year plan to place the creative arts at the heart of communities throughout Ireland. She has extensive experience in arts and advertising, with a background in media, politics and economics.

She most recently served as Chief Executive of Advertising Practitioners of Ireland (IAPI). Before taking the position at IAPI in 2012, where she established a number of new campaigns – including a successful drive for new members – she served as Chief Executive of Theatre Forum Ireland, where for nine years she worked to expand and promote the organisation as Ireland’s leading performing arts group.

Ian Talbot – Chief Executive of Chambers Ireland

Ian Talbot - Chief Executive of Chambers Ireland

Ian Talbot is Chief Executive of Chambers Ireland – Ireland’s Largest Business Organisation. He is responsible for driving the future growth and strategic development of the organisation as it seeks to promote the competitiveness of business in Ireland, represent interests of its members, and facilitate the development of the chamber network.

Prior to joining Chambers Ireland, Ian held positions as a Director of Citigroup and JP Morgan Chase in Ireland. He qualified as a Chartered Accountant with Price Waterhouse where he spent several years working in their Dublin and Luxembourg offices. Ian holds MA and BBS degrees from Trinity College, Dublin.

Garret Doocey – Assistant Secretary for Transport Investment and Public Transport Policy for the Department of Transport

Garret Doocey

Garret Doocey is Assistant Secretary with responsibility for Transport Investment and Public Transport Policy. He has held a number of other roles in the Department of Transport in the corporate, public transport and maritime areas and started his Civil Service career in the Courts Service. Prior to joining the Civil Service, he worked in the private sector and holds a MSc in Economic Policy Studies and a MA in Public Management.

Liz Canavan – Assistant Secretary Department of the Taoiseach

Liz Canavan - Assistant Secretary, Department of An Taoiseach

Elizabeth Canavan is the current Assistant Secretary General of the Social Policy and Public Service Reform Division, Government Information Service, and Corporate Affairs in the Department of the Taoiseach.  In this role, she is responsible for coordinating and overseeing the Governments response to COVID19 and the Humanitarian Response to the Ukrainian Crisis. She is the Secretary to the Cabinet Committees on Health, Education, Social Affairs and Equality and the Chair of the associated Senior Officials Groups.

She is also Deputy Chair of the National Economic and Social Council and Secretary to the Civil Service Management Board.

Previously, she held the position of Assistant Secretary General in the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, Acting Secretary General in both the Departments of Children and Youth Affairs, and Rural and Community Development, and Chief Executive Officer of the Adoption Authority of Ireland. She is a native of Galway and a graduate of Dublin City University, from which she holds a BA (Humanities).